Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Wardhead 1997 & Ardmore 2008 for r/Scotch Reviews

Hi everyone,

Okay, bit of back story first… Last year we managed to get two samples from Hunter Laing (Sherry cask Blair Athol and an Inchgower, both over 20 years old). They were rejected for not being good enough.
I organised two more samples from The Single Cask to be sent to u/scotch_fanatic. Once again, not good enough.
u/t8ke then gets Morrison MacKay on board and they send us 9 samples from casks they have that we could bottle. They are sent out blind and we (the tasting panel) taste them, rate them, etc.
Our favourite being an older single grain, we decided that the best course of action was to bottle the second and third favourites.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t rate anything in the blind tasting super high and I gave both of these 7.5/10. I have lost my notes from the blind tasting but I remember guessing the Ardmore was a Croftengea and the Wardhead as some young Speysider. But blind tastings can be deceiving and stuff changes sometimes when it’s bottled as well as changing as it opens up and you spend more time with it. So let us see what the r/Scotch bottlings offer!
Also, this was a huge load of fun and I have to thank u/t8ke and u/scotch_fanatic for generally being awesome, organising this and including me as a part of it. It has been a privilege and an honour and I can’t wait for more bottlings in the future!

Wardhead 1997 for r/Scotch 54.7%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Fresh nose, younger than its years. Green apple and malt first off, grassy, very clean, milk chocolate, hot chocolate froth and some heather, honey. Creamy with vanilla after a minute. Under ripe orange and green grape appearing. Malted milk biscuits too.
Taste: Really wonderful clean arrival, lovely mouthfeel with oils and malt, then a burst of fresh fruit with green apple and lemon, milk chocolate, heather, some oak and spices, some white pepper, stem ginger, softening again into the finish.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Darker and more malty here, malt biscuits, a little cocoa powder, more oak.
Hogshead #40, bottled at 22yo. The nose and the beginning of the taste here are a lot better than I remember from blind tasting. The mid-palate goes into some average territory with the spices and oak just a little flat. Still, a great release worth picking up. Water made the nose much fresher and fruitier but I found it lost body and depth on the taste.
77/100
 
Ardmore 2008 for r/Scotch 57%
Colour: Straw
Body: Full
Nose: I remember first tasting this blind and then the first taste out of the bottle thinking that this was just another pretty average peated whisky. But the nose keeps opening up more... Creamy, lemon citrus, the malt is there quite gristy giving a complexity and body, an Agave note- maybe kinda Mezcal-like, some ash, a little white grapefruit, maritime notes of cold seafood buffet, lobster and crab flesh with cracked black pepper. The more you dig and pay attention, the more you get.
Taste: Clean arrival, oily, lemon citrus and then BIG peat, lots of intense minerality and rocky seashore notes, licking the inside of old shells, chewy mouthfeel. Great, and again, very different from my blind tasting and first pours.
Finish: Medium length. Not as long as the Wardhead but still plenty going on with salt, peaty malt and the oils coating away. Quite dry too.
Bourbon barrel 702430, bottled 11yo. Love Ardmore and very happy to have a bottle of this. I also have to say that this is supremely drinkable at full strength but doesn’t seem to do well with water.
80/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #813-#814
Whisky Network Reviews #969-#970

Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. In this case, I was also a part of selecting these whiskies, so may be even more biased than usual... Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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